Has Big Sky finally been discovered?
Sep 18, 2013, 12:00 ET
BIG SKY, Mont., Sept. 18, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- I have lived in Big Sky for 25 years and blessed to enjoy all of them. There has been a lot of economic change (both positive and negative) over the years but arguably not anything like the last 15 months. I got to thinking about the last year and you have to admit, there is a bunch of positive "mojo" going on in our little community.
2012 saw very positive gains across many of the economic indicators we measure (room nights, tax collections, real estate sales). Granted that was not that hard after being hit by the economic turndown that began in 2008 and 2009. In the last year, a positive direction felt inevitable, but "when would it be realized" is how many in the community were left wondering. By all accounts, 2011 and 2012 began the recovery. There are no crystal balls, but you have to admit, there is some pretty positive things happening to our town.
First, understand that Big Sky was a very different place five years ago. Four of the five Big Sky pillars (Yellowstone Club, Moonlight Basin Resort (MBR), The Club at Spanish Peaks (SP), and Lone Mountain Ranch) in this community had gone bankrupt and were either not open or owned by the lenders that held the debt. Yellowstone Club was first to gain traction with its new owner, Cross Harbor Capital (CHG). Since the purchase, CHG with its partnership with Discovery Land Company has delivered on the club's original goal of the most elite private community experience ... anywhere. Yellowstone Club is currently enjoying phenomenal sales, peak member usage, and pre 2008 new construction levels. Let it be said, that the entire community of Big Sky benefits from this rising tide.
Today, the Yellowstone Club is enjoying its "phoenix" so to speak. CHG, and in partnership with Boyne USA, the owner of Big Sky Resort for 35 years, both have jointly acquired the largest remaining pillars of the Big Sky Community (SP and MBR). Collectively, CHG and Boyne USA are in the process of consolidating the major real estate assets of our community and arguably one of the largest resort consolidations of the last decade. The Club at Spanish Peaks, dormant since October of 2011, was purchased from bankruptcy and now owned by this new partnership of CHG and Boyne USA. SP's own "phoenix" begins this year as club operations are expected to begin with the 2013/14 ski season.
Furthermore, the CHG and Boyne USA partnership is nearing completion of its acquisition of MBR. Combined with the existing terrain of Big Sky Resort, these two neighboring resorts will merge "formally" creating one of the largest ski areas in North America under one owner. In addition, this consolidation includes a Jack Nicklaus designed golf course that has nine holes completed and the remaining nine with its future still to be determined. Under one management team, this addition adds many thousands of additional acres of ski terrain of future growth potential.
It would seem that the future of Big Sky as a community is once again in the control of one organization or partnership. Similar to the early 90′s when only Boyne was the largest business in the community. Although the acquisitions are the most visible, think about a few of the other economic indicators that spell out an outstanding future.
For the first time (from a www.bozemanairport.com press release), Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport (BZN) had more passenger enplanements and deplanements than any other airport in Montana during a twelve consecutive month period. This milestone is a direct result of collaboration between the Airport and the communities of Bozeman, Belgrade, Big Sky (including Big Sky Resort, Moonlight Basin and the Yellowstone Club) and West Yellowstone. "We are fortunate to have so many entities in Southwest Montana that understand the importance of air service to the local economy. Without their help, we would not be celebrating this momentous occasion," said Brian Sprenger, Airport Director.
I would also like to point out, that CHG has probably been the largest contributor of private charters in and out of our airport over the last few years, and the principals understand the importance of non-stop flights to our area. The new customs terminal at Bozeman Field is the direct result of this group as well.
Another positive indicator for our community is in the form of health care. Two state hospitals were interested in constructing a facility in our community. In the spring of 2014, Bozeman Deaconess Hospital will be constructing a new facility to treat our locals and guests alike. No longer will an ambulance ride to Bozeman be required. Again, one of the most important issues regarding the health and safety of all us locally will be remedied. This facility will be staffed 24/7/365 as they say. Pretty amazing investment in our community.
Two other items, maybe less news worthy, are a new Kindergarten through 4th grade school, and the first new directional signage in our area in many years. They may not sound sexy, they come with a price but they show confidence of our future while delivering a community to our locals and guests. Building for our children needs to happen and the Big Sky Community spoke positively when they approved a $10,000,000 new elementary school to be added to the existing campus. Our current facility would have been over run had this not been approved. In essence, young families have moved here and it is our responsibility as a community to deliver a world class education. The existing facility does not have enough room. The approval of the K-4 Elementary is more expensive for all of us, but it is an investment into the future of Big Sky. It was overwhelmingly approved by the voting public. Another positive for our future.
We have new ownership of our local resorts, the busiest airport in the state, a new hospital coming, a new elementary school coming, new community directional signage, community support at an all time high, and continued national and international level marketing all point to a "rising tide lifts all ships," time in our development. The time is now Big Sky. We are on the national radar due to many reasons, lets continue to complement the efforts of all those that have gotten us this far.
About Montana Living ~ Big Sky Real Estate
Montana Living ~ Big Sky Real Estate is proud to be one of the leading real estate and consulting firms in Big Sky and Southwest Montana. The firm and its agents represent buyers and sellers of land, homes, condominiums and commercial properties. Martha Johnson is the Managing Broker/Owner and her team lives, works and plays in Big Sky and will provide updated and concise market information. We are Big Sky, Montana and look forward to serving you. More listings, referrals and sales. Montana Living is a registered MT TM of NewWest Communications. Office location in the Big Sky Town Center and can be found online at BigSkyRealEstate.com 406.995.6333
Contact: Scott Johnson, 406-570-7064, [email protected]
SOURCE Montana Living ~ Big Sky Real Estate
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